The Sebadoh


Sub Pop / Sire Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If I had to describe reviewing in a slightly flippant manner, I would say that bands fall into four categories: I've heard of them (translation: Who are they?), I've heard them (I wasn't impressed), I wish I hadn't heard them (insert your expletive here), and why haven't I heard them before? (WOW!)

Prior to my receiving The Sabadoh, the latest release from Sebadoh, in the mail, I would have classified this three piece as "I've heard of them". Oh, I'm sure at some junction in my life, I heard one of their songs, but they just didn't ring a bell with me.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Now, after repeated listenings to The Sebadoh, I'm asking, "Why haven't I heard them before?" This is a band that merges both the experimental and the traditional worlds of alternative music, and makes it all seem as natural as falling off a log.

If you take a few minutes and read their thank-you list in the liner notes, you may get an idea of where this band comes from, ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd (who get thanked at least ten times) to Black Flag to The Beach Boys. (In fact, almost the entire history of civilization is in these - I'm almost a little hurt that we didn't get thanked just to round things out.)

If you like solid, traditional alternative music, then The Sebadoh won't disappoint at all. The band - Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and Russ Pollard - bang out some wonderful examples of what this genre is capable of. Tracks like "Weird," "Tree" and "Colorblind" all do not disappoint.

If you like shorter, more experimental blasts, there's plenty of these on this disc. Tracks like "Bird In The Hand," "So Long" and "Cuban" all demonstrate that Sebadoh is a band that is right on the cusp of greatness.

In fact, the only criticism I could make of The Sebadoh is one that I seem to be making more often about albums these days: If you're not paying attention to the track listing, the songs tend to stream into one another. Of course, seeing that all the material on this disc is so good, that isn't as big of a problem as it could have been.

One could ask if it is confusing the way Sebadoh quickly changes alternative styles. The answer is "no"; the band blends the changes in so well that it seems seamless - even natural - to go from a more pop-oriented song to a cut that could have easily come from Nirvana in their early days.

The Sebadoh is a disc that might confuse radio station program directors, but is sure to delight the legions of alternative music fans. If you are looking for something a little more cutting-edge or even challenging, this is a disc you'll want to pick up.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sub Pop / Sire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.